Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pancakes of Perfection

In the world of pancakes, there are, meh, pancakes and then there are PANCAKES. The cakes of perfection pictured above fall into the latter camp.

Many a recent morning, as I tend to Huxley's breakfast needs, Hubs has been tending to mine. "What would you like for breakfast, sweetie?", he'll ask. If I don't enthusiastically reply "Egg and cheese biscuit, please!" or "French toast!" or "Frittata", then I'm most likely thinking that what I really want, what I'm in fact pining for, are pancakes. Sometimes Hubs knows this without my even having to request it. Such was the case on Friday morning, when he presented me with a plate of these divine beauties.

What distinguishes these pancakes from their mediocre kin are two components, both having to do with eggs (which, around the English household, we like-a lot; we eat an awful lot of eggs-there's a reason I wrote a book on "Keeping Chickens", mind you...). Firstly, there are four eggs used here, whereas most recipes for pancakes of a similar quantity employ the use of a mere two. Secondly, the egg whites and yolks are whisked separately and then both incorporated into the batter. This results in a "good balance of airiness inside and crispiness outside," to quote the chef himself. These cakes lack the doughy, gummy, heavy quality characteristic of many a foiled cake.

Additionally, there are several flavoring suggestions that aren't commonly used in pancake preparation, including almond extract, a personal favorite. In short, these are the perfect pancakes, really. You could make them for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner and please everyone at your table.

Without further ado:

The Motherflippin' Best Pancakes (this is Hubs' title...get the pun?)

The base:
-4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 cups whole milk
-2 Tablespoons melted butter
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-Pinch of salt, if desired.

Optional yuletide additions:
-1 capful almond extract
-1 capful orange extract
-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
-1/2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly grated
-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoons ground cloves

-In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except the egg whites, and mix well.
-Beat the egg whites separately until very foamy.
-Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture until fairly well incorporated (we're not making a souffle here, so go ahead and work the foaminess in).
-Ladle into a well buttered pan on medium-low heat (Hubs suggests the use of a cast iron pan, versus a non-stick one, so as to better achieve the highly coveted outer edge crispiness).
-When air bubbles stay in the middle and it's golden brown on the edges of the underside, flip.
-Cook for a minute or two more till it starts to lightly brown on the bottom.
-Keep warm in a 200 degree oven if you need to.
-Add a little more butter if you like, and serve with grade B (the best) maple syrup.


Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN said...

yum! love all the spices....I posted it to our Ingles FB page.

Anonymous said...

shun the non-stick!! hubs is right on. and bring on the buttah.

EcoGrrl said...

hmm, up for a challenge? try those blueberry ricotta pancakes that i posted the link for on my FB...crazy crazy good...put ian into a breakfast coma :)

Renai said...

I just walked into my kitchen and back out with a big sigh. No groats, no peanut butter, no cheese.


Sacha Joy said...

Hey, I was at the University of Washington's Cultivating Regional Food Security conference in Seattle and they had your 'Keeping Chickens' book on display! Congrats!

Michele said...

Must go make this as soon as possible!


Unknown said...

YUM! Thanks for sharing-- very generous!

ashley english said...

sacha-well now, how cool is that?! thanks for the head's up! i love it!

Catherine Chandler said...

I often want pancakes but never make them because I have been waiting for the perfect recipe. I will definitely have to try these!!!

Unknown said...

I thought I had a great Pancake recipe until I tried this one! I love these!! They are crispy, light, flavorful and they melt in your mouth there is no comparison! and they lend themselves so well to a little butter and some of my maple syrup blends... From the first forkful I fell in love!!

- Mike Lammers -